Understanding Hierarchy in Google Analytics

Accounts? Properties? Users? Views? How do you find the information you need in Google Analytics?

The setup can be quite confusing if you aren’t familiar with the interface.

To help you better understand how to navigate your analytics account, we’ll use an example throughout this article. Anytown Surgical Practice has its own website. Dr. Smith works for Anytown Surgical Practice, but has his own website as well. Jane, the practice manager, oversees the analytics account for both of these sites.

Account

When Jane logs into Google Analytics, she will first see the account. The account is the top level of organization in Google Analytics. In this case, the account is named Anytown Surgical Practice, because that is the name of the group practice. Jane can use this account to manage one site, or to manage multiple sites. Since she is managing two sites, this account will contain two properties.

Property

In Google Analytics, “properties” are the websites that you manage in your account. Since Jane is managing the website for Anytown Surgical Practice and Dr. Smith, she will have two properties in her account. Each website (property) that you add to your account has its own tracking code, which allows Google Analytics to collect data for reports.

View

The view is the third level you see in Google Analytics when you expand the property you want to look at. The view level contains your reports. When you set up a new property in your account, you’ll automatically have one view available, but you can add more views of that property if you wish.

There are several reasons why you might want to add other views. If you create separate views, you can apply filters to your reports so that each report only contains a certain type of traffic. For example, you might want to filter out traffic from your office or traffic from spam sites so it doesn’t skew your data. However, we always recommend having one view with no filters at all–this will help you recover your data if you apply any filters incorrectly and filter out the wrong traffic.

Going back to our example, Jane has two views for each property. Each property has one unfiltered view, and one view that filters out spam traffic.

Property: Anytown Surgical Practice

View: Anytown Surgical Practice – filtered

View: Anytown Surgical Practice – unfiltered

Property: Dr. Smith

View: Dr. Smith – filtered

View: Dr. Smith – unfiltered

If Dr. Smith wants a report on his organic traffic, Jane will use the filtered view to provide Dr. Smith with the most accurate traffic data. However, if she realizes that she has accidentally filtered out all traffic in this view, she still has her unfiltered view to fall back on.

Users and Permissions

You can grant multiple users access to an analytics account if you wish, and you can restrict access to certain areas of the report if needed. You can add users at the account, property, and view levels.

For example, if Dr. Smith wanted to access his reports, he wouldn’t need access to the reports for Anytown Surgical practice. Jane could assign him as a user at the property level, so that he could see the filtered and unfiltered reports for his website. If Dr. Smith only wants to see the filtered reports, Jane could also add him as a user to the filtered view only. If Dr. Smith wants other office personnel to be able to view these reports, but is concerned about altering the reports, Jane can also add users to the filtered view and alter the permissions so that they are only allowed to view the reports.

To further illustrate our point, here is a real-life example of the hierarchy in Google Analytics. This is how we set up our analytics account. (The Dynamic Theme refers to one of our subdomains that we group with our main domain for one view.)

Analytics Hierarchy

As you’ll see here, the account is the first level, followed by the property, and the views we created.

Have any more questions about your analytics account? We’re happy to help!

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